Oxymoron of the Decade – “Voluntary Regulation”

Via today’s NY Times:

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a longtime proponent of deregulation, acknowledged on Friday that failures in a voluntary supervision program for Wall Street’s largest investment banks had contributed to the global financial crisis, and he abruptly shut the program down…

…Christopher Cox, the commission chairman, said he agreed that the oversight program was “fundamentally flawed from the beginning.”

“The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work,” he said in a statement. The program “was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, because investment banks could opt in or out of supervision voluntarily. The fact that investment bank holding companies could withdraw from this voluntary supervision at their discretion diminished the perceived mandate” of the program, and “weakened its effectiveness,” he added.

What the hell, let’s give him the “Moronic Statement of the Decade” award while we are at it, for, one more time:

“The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work”.

The last six months??? How about the last fifty thousand years? Jackass.

Here’s an idea, you know that program whereby the I.R.S. may audit you? Let’s make that voluntary — you know, opt-in / opt-out, whatever works for you.

Or that annoying thingy where the cops pull you over for drunk driving? Same deal, you want out of that program? No sweat, we’ll give you a special decal for your windshield. You know, the “honor” system. Worth a try. Who knows, it could work.

“Who are these guys?” (thanks Paul, for everything)

Landor: The Art of the Steal

Sometimes imitation is flattery, sometimes it demonstrates a complete lack of originality and / or corporate ethics.

Naming and branding parody site Landor has posted an article in which they claim authorship of called “How not to name“, accompanied by a photo of Anthony Shore, head of global naming at Landor. It is posted on a section of their website that they ironically named “Thinking”.

Here is an except (from point 2, paragraph 3):

This “positivity principle” explains why a scandalous name (Virgin), a slur (Banana Republic), and a small, hairy larva (Caterpillar) are perceived positively.

And here is how this thought was written five years earlier, both on the Igor website and in the Igor Naming Guide:

Unless everyone understands the positioning and the correlation between it and an evocative name, this is the type of feedback that evocative names will generate:

Virgin Airlines

  • Says “we’re new at this”
  • Public wants airlines to be experienced, safe and professional
  • Investors won’t take us seriously
  • Religious people will be offended

Caterpillar

  • Tiny, creepy-crawly bug
  • Not macho enough – easy to squash
  • Why not “bull” or “workhorse”?
  • Destroys trees, crops, responsible for famine

Banana Republic

  • Derogatory cultural slur
  • You’ll be picketed by people from small, hot countries

The Landor article “How Not to Name” is written in a format that states popular misconceptions and the debunks them. Here they attack the mistaken idea that focus groups are helpful in choosing company or product names (from point 6, paragraph 1):

As a rule, it’s smart to entrust strategic business decisions to someone who trades an hour of their time for $25 and a few handfuls of M&Ms.

And here is how Steve Manning, co-founder of Igor, expressed the same idea 5 years earlier in an article in Elsevier Food International :

“If you’re trusting the future of your brand to a bunch of people who are willing to give up their time for $45 and a stale sandwich, you’re in trouble.”

Was Mr. Shore of Landor aware of Mr. Maninng’s quote? Of course he was, Mr. Shore was quoted in the very same article as Mr. Manning.

The final insult comes at the end of this “Landor authored” naming article:

© 2007 Landor Associates. All rights reserved.

Reached for comment, Anthony Shore, head of global naming at Landor had this to say.


Related